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When this Venezuelan worker went remote, he sought US jobs — then created a company to help others do it too

The i-Worker team in Buenos Aires, Argentina.The iWorker team in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

iWorker is a company that lets people in and around Venezuela to take remote work from the US.
It was founded by Enrique Yervez. who lived in Caracas, Venezuela, before moving to Argentina.
"We recruit English speakers and guide them on working remotely," Yervez told Insider. "Then we connect workers and business owners."

Carolina Ayllon is a new mother who lives in Venezuela. Like many new moms, she was looking for a way to stay at home with her new baby while continuing to earn an income. 

That's when Ayllon found iWorker, a virtual-assistant agency that connects "business owners from around the world with English-speaking remote professionals from economically impoverished countries," according to its website. iWorker was cofounded by Enrique Yervez, who lived in Caracas, Venezuela, before moving to Argentina. It allows Venezuelans to earn US dollars.

"Venezuela was a really rich country," Yervez told Insider. "But it started to collapse, both politically and economically. That caused a lot of problems: hyperinflation, lack of food."

He decided to leave the country with his pregnant wife and started working remotely, earning money in the more stable US dollar. That's when he created iWorker, he said. 

"We basically recruit English speakers in Venezuela and guide them on how to succeed working remotely," Yervez said. "We also search for small companies and business owners, entrepreneurs and agencies in the US, Canada, and the UK who could use virtual assistant services. Basically, we connect workers and business owners."

Tasks for the virtual assistants include everything from data entry to video editing and marketing, Yervez said.

From 2018 to 2020, iWorker said it provided work for more than 300 Venezuelans, nearly 60% of which have been women, and helped its workers to generate over $800,000 in income. iWorker said 83% of its Venezuelan team is based in Venezuela itself, with another 17% living in neighboring countries.

The virtual assistants can earn up to $10 per hour, which Yervez said can go far in countries in Latin and South America. 

"And by working with us, by working with companies abroad — U.S.-based companies, companies from Canada — they're able to make money in hard currency US dollars," he added. "So by doing that they're protected against inflation, and they're also able to work from home."

A recent report from the International Labor Organization said digital work can provide a way for refugees and migrants to find work that could be transformative. 

For Ayllon, the job allows her the flexibility to stay at home while also continuing to use skills she's learned. For one client, she acts as a business-development manager, which includes customer service skills, business development, and finding new sales leads. The second client is a marketing agency located in Greece. With that client, she mostly manages digital advertising. 

Plus, she likes the global aspect of it.

"With clients around the world, I mean, that's amazing," Ayllon said. "[We] can work for people from Greece and from Canada. I've met new people every day from different countries, and that's an amazing thing for my work."

Read the original article on Business Insider

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